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Opinion
Hal Brands

Keeping Putin’s Nuclear Threat From Launching an Arms Race

Ukraine may seem a cautionary tale for nations lacking atomic weapons, but the US has the ability to keep most other states from obtaining them.

Boom.

Boom.

Source: AFP via Getty Images

The war in Ukraine has shattered the stability of Eastern Europe. It is also straining one of the great American and global achievements of the postwar era: A system that kept the club of nuclear-weapon states small and exclusive.

As a report published by the Brookings Institution put it, one “potential casualty of this conflict is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the general international effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.”